Last week brought this water safety headline: Coast Guard rescues 49 people aboard faulty yacht lost in Lake Michigan fog.

A few words immediately jumped out at us: rescues, faulty yacht, lost in Lake Michigan fog. Reading the article, we learned of additional frightening facts: “no operating navigation system…. not enough life jackets on board…”

A recipe for disaster. Fortunately, all 49 people got back to shore safely thanks to the Coast Guard. But the yacht’s owner faces heavy fines. Or possibly losing his license.

Water safety is not something we take lightly. As the owners of two luxury yachts that host hundreds of charters each season, it’s a responsibility we take very seriously.

Our captains and crew are experienced professionals who are thoroughly trained in yachting safety. Along with the list of safety guidelines posted on our website, we provide this information to clients when they book a charter.

Be prepared for us to be safety sticklers. Coming on board, a crew member will ask your female guests to remove high heels. We’ll refuse to serve liquor to a guest who’s had too much. We won’t go out of the harbor if the lake is too choppy. We’ll keep you safe.

Yes, we’ve had push-back from the occasional charter guest who wants to sit on the hand rail or stand on a bench. Or swim. Or have another drink. But we’d rather have a guest angry with us than injured. Or worse.

Lake Michigan is beautiful, and we feel very fortunate to spend our summers on it. But it’s also deep and cold with currents that have surprised more than a few hapless victims.

The U. S. Coast Guard has been cracking down on illegal charter boats following an increase in the number of injuries sine 2014. Here are a few interesting facts according to boating statistics they’ve compiled from 2015:

  • 71% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction.
  • 8 out of 10 boaters who drowned were in smaller boats (less than 21 ft.). Think rowboats, motor boats, canoes, not large yachts.
  • and not surprisingly, alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents.

We hope the Coast Guard continues to pursue illegal charter boats because water fatalities are something none of us want to see. It hurts business. It ruins lives.

We want to see you come back again and again. And so we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your Free Spirit Yacht Charter experience is one that you and your guests will remember happily for years to come.

What our clients say:

Thank you so much for a wonderful experience Wednesday night! You and your crew were a huge part in us having a successful event with our partners. You made it extremely easy for us to coordinate and I truly appreciate you allowing us to customize our event with the tea cocktails and tea beer. Our guests loved it! Everyone on your crew from the safety lesson to our captain and bartender were excellent and very kind. We enjoyed everything so much and will definitely be back! You can count on me to spread your name by word of mouth 🙂 Thanks again for everything!” -Ashley & the Tiesta Tea Team

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